Week Three in São Paulo

The last couple of weeks were spent doing research in two different locations: one week at the Universidade de Sao Paulo’s School of Architecture and Urbanism (FAU) and the other week at the Biblioteca Mario de Andrade.  In both places I looked at specialized journals and magazines published in the late 1940s and early 1950s.  These magazines and journals – all of them dedicated to modern architecture and urbanism – included titles such as Acropole, Pilotis, Habitat, Modulo, Enhenharia e Decoracao and Arquitetura e Engenharia.  Most of these magazines were unknown to me, making them that much more important to my work.  I was able to find a number of very good articles written by prominent architects and engineers – most of them Brazil – about the challenges that Sao Paulo was facing in the 1940s and 1950s.  Interestingly, direct references to Robert Moses and his Program of Improvements for Sao Paulo were very scarce.  However, there is no doubt that interest in urban planning – particularly the desire to produce a master plan for the city of Sao Paulo – grew exponentially after Moses’ 1950 Program.  Luckily both library’s have extremely generous policies when it comes to photographing the material – basically a researcher is able to photograph everything and anything she or he needs.  Needless to say I have been able to collect a vast amount of photos.  The only draw back is that thanks to this policy I have given the materials a cursory look.  The idea is that I will be able to get back to the photos I have taken in the near future and read the material more carefully.

One other item of interest that I was able to locate is another urban plan for the city of Sao Paulo, this one published in 1969. Although Robert Moses did not participate in this later plan, many other Americans, including the U.S. Government.   The 1969 plan was partially financed by USAID.  I need to find out if Nelson Rockefeller was also associated with the 1969 plan.

Posted by Marcio Siwi — PhD Candidate in Latin American History at NYU

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